Looking back to the fall, I remember creating my strategy for the fantasy basketball season. Carlos Boozer was on my "do not draft list," and it was not that I did not think Boozer was a quality player, but I knew he was going to start the year hurt, so I'd rather take a player of less production that would actually play the entire season. I will not pretend I ever gave the Bulls their proper respect, and it is clear that they are proving me wrong. The baby bulls are grown up, and they have as much of a chance at this championship as any team left.
As a Knicks fan, I remember seeing the Knicks run all over the Bulls in the first two matchups. They spread them out, and players like Toney Douglas drained three after three. The two games might fool NBA fans around the world to think the Knicks were better off without Carmelo, yet clearly, there were key pieces missing in each game. In the first matchup, Boozer was still recovering from the injury he started his season with, and in the matchup over Christmas, Noah was still wearing a cast on his arm. The Bulls raced to the first seed in the East without their full frontcourt for most of the season.
Last night, the Bulls murdered the Heat on the offensive glass, and there was nothing Lebron or Wade could do to change that. The Chicago Bulls grabbed 19 offensive rebounds -- and no, that is not a typo -- the biggest one being a ridiculous putback by Taj Gibson. Before this year, we all knew Taj was growing into a decent player, but his development would be slowed with the addition of Boozer and growing potential of Joakim Noah. But luckily for all Bulls fans, Boozer took forever to return, and Noah had multiple trips to the DL. Gibson took advantage and has gained the trust of his new coach and teammates. No moment is too big for this kid, whether it's standing up and blocking Lebron or following a Watson miss for the biggest putback this year (or maybe decade), Taj Gibson has matured and handled the pressure.
Many times injuries ruin a team, and as a Mets fan, I can clearly relate with that statement. Nevertheless for the Bulls, it clearly has been a blessing, and now that Boozer, Noah, Gibson, and Asik are all healthy, the Heat better take every defensive rebound seriously because last night they missed out on over 41% of them. Oh, and one more thing, somewhere Anderson Varejao is smiling after seeing LeBron lose in the battle of stars versus team defense and watching Wade get DUNK FACED by Taj Gibson. What goes around comes around, Mr. Wade.